Kurt Slafkovsky of St. Peter Parish in Deland was overcome with emotion as family, friends, and the faithful of his parish embraced him, following the celebration of his Ordination to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Orlando.
On June 6, Bishop John Noonan conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon 12 men — Slafkovsky, Alfred D’Angelo, Thomas Flavell, Gary Hessen, Stephen Knych, Pablo Laguna-Villegas, Christopher Meehan, Joseph Moran, German Romero, Michael Rosolino, William Shelden and Heriberto Toledo — before a joy-filled congregation at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando.
“I am so overwhelmed with the feeling of love and God’s mercy,” Slafkovsky said. “During the Litany of the Saints, I felt as if the heavens opened up and the saints were looking down. We are all part of this sacred history that we have had for over 2,000 years, blessed by God. And here we are to carry the torch in this day and age. I give glory to God for his steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Deacon David Gray, Diocese of Orlando director of the permanent diaconate, said the Ordination was the culminating event of a five-year formation process that strengthened the men spiritually, pastorally, mentally and academically. As permanent deacons, the men can baptize, witness marriages, perform funeral and burial services outside of Mass, distribute Holy Communion, and preach the homily.
Following the Ordination, the men returned to their respective parishes where they will serve in accordance with their pastor or parochial administrator. Each is expected to be involved in ministry outside of their parishes as well.
“You are to serve, to serve God, serve your family and to serve the Church,” Bishop Noonan said during his homily. “The Gospel of Matthew tells us that you are the salt of the earth. Salt is a special gift of nature. It preserves. It seasons. It fortifies. It purifies. You, too, are called to preserve, to fortify, and to season the lives of the people you will serve.”
“The Gospel is good news,” he continued, “so share the good news, not only in your church but in your family and in the world. Share your faith not just in word but in action, living it out in your daily lives.”
Just as the day was a celebration for the newly ordained, it was for their wives as well, as they journeyed alongside their husbands from the moment of their, “Yes.” Their journey will continue as they have a special role in their husbands’ spiritual journeys and ministries.
“I am very proud of Joe (Moran) and am very excited for him,” said Elly Moran of St. Joseph Parish in Palm Bay. “He has a very good heart, a servant’s heart. I am not surprised that we are here today because I have always seen this in him. This has been a wonderful journey, and I thank God every day that I have been able to be a part of it.”
Our newest permanent deacons will serve in the following parishes:
- Alfred D’Angelo – St. Brendan Parish, Ormond Beach
- Thomas Flavell – Our Lady of Grace Parish, Palm Bay
- Gary Hessen—St. Joseph Parish, Palm Bay
- Stephen Knych – Corpus Christi Parish, Celebration
- Pablo Laguna-Villegas – St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Kissimmee
- Christopher Meehan – Ascension Parish, Melbourne
- Joseph Moran — St. Joseph Parish, Palm Bay
- German Romero – Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Winter Park
- Michael Rosolino – Our Lady of Hope Parish, Port Orange
- William Shelden – Blessed Sacrament Parish, Cocoa
- Kurt Slafkovsky – St. Peter Parish, Deland
- Heriberto Toledo– St. Peter Parish, Deland